Vatican prosecutor: money laundering investigation needed

The Vatican prosecutor is being urged to investigate all cases of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Moneyval, which is the Council of Europe’s monitoring body, also says the prosecutor should be more “proactive” in other financial crimes.

These include corruption, embezzlement and abuse of office.

Furthermore, Moneyval says the prosecutor should “actively consider appealing sentences which he considers unduly lenient”.

Moneyval’s mixed bag of comments in its current periodic report also praise the Vatican’s efficiency in flagging suspicious transactions.

However, as was the case in 2015, Moneyval said although the Vatican freezes assets if it identifies suspicious transactions, it isn’t doing enough to prosecute offenders.

Of the 69 possibly problematic transactions the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority has flagged in the past four years, criminal investigations have begun in 27 of them.

Eight of the investigations were closed without charges and six ended without indictment.

The Moneyval report expresses surprise that “no prosecution or indictment has … been brought before the [Vatican] tribunal which involves a count of money laundering”.

The report goes on to say the success rate of the prosecutor before the Tribunal “is so far not encouraging”.

One major case the Vatican did prosecute was in relation to the former president and treasurer of the Vatican’s pediatric hospital.

They were put on trial earlier this year facing embezzlement charges for allegedly diverting donations to renovate a cardinal’s apartment.

The former president was convicted of the lesser offense of abuse of office and given a suspended one-year sentence.

The former treasurer was absolved.

The Vatican has released a statement following Moneyval’s report acknowledging “there are still areas for further improvement, in particular as regards law enforcement and the judicial side”.



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